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I’m never ready for Advent. My house is a mess, I have no idea what to buy my step-father for Christmas, and my calendar feels full to bursting. I have these notions, these visions of reading Scripture and theology and poetry by the fire. But by the time I get home, I’m lucky if I read the grocery list. And yet, Advent never fails to arrive. And when it does, as it did on Sunday, I find myself swept up into the mystery of it all.
Advent is, by its very nature, disruptive. It joins the hopeful, wonder-filled expectation of the Holy Child, the Word made Flesh, with the apocalyptic images and promises of the return of Christ Pantocrator, Ruler of All, Sustainer of the World. Advent calls us to examine our lives and our relationship to God and to the world. It invites us to be awake, to be attentive to God’s action in the world, and alert to signs of God’s return.
Image: This image is the oldest known icon of Christ Pantocrator and is found at St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai.
My favorite Advent hymn, Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending, co-mingles images of Holy Week and the Second Coming of Christ. This is not the sweet tableau of a baby surrounded by wise men. It is the wildness of God that cannot and will not be tamed. And yet the baby is coming. Again and anew. If we allow it, Advent draws us into a liminal in between space where we recognize that God is at once doing a familiar thing, a new thing that we are a part of.
But, if I am being completely honest, I find myself wrapped up in Advent because I recognize my mortality, my earth-bound nature, my aging body, my creaking bones. Advent invites us to be curious about who we are as fragile, breakable humans in relationship to the Divine, who comes for us and to us as Love. Some years ago, at my parish in Chicago, we formed a speech choir that performed every Advent W.H. Auden’s piece For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio. Auden’s work is more than a simple poem. It’s designed to be spoken aloud, with chorus and solos and oftentimes in my head and heart I hear the poem as read by choruses of shepherds and magi. The line that keeps coming back to me is we who must die demand a miracle.
We who must die demand a miracle.
We humans seek a miracle. We mortals are desperate for a miracle. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t even know what it is that I’m seeking. But I do know that somehow, by the grace of God, it comes to us, in holy, disruptive, untamed ways, sometimes crying in the night, like a hungry baby.
In hopeful expectation,
From For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio by W. H. Auden
Thank you for your prayers and support of St. Catherine's ministries and missions! If you were not able to give your pledge for 2019 at church last Sunday, it is needed now as we begin our budgeting process. Blank cards are available at church or you may download one here on our website . Please return cards at services on Sunday or send to the church office as soon as possible. (If you are not able to pledge then please let us know that too.)
Due by Sunday, December 9
We are asking now for members of St. Catherine's who are eligible to serve to ponder in their heart if it is their time to serve on vestry. Potential members have a commitment to Jesus Christ, the Gospel and His Church, in regular attendance and service, a good steward in areas of our church life, and willing to attend the winter retreat (first weekend in February) and a half-day retreat in August. We ask for nominations to be complete by December 9.
This year we are changing the timing of our vestry nominations and election. We will publish the photos and bios of the nominees in the January 6 and 13 bulletins. Election will be held during the services of January 20 (day of our Annual Meeting). If a runoff is necessary, it will be held during the Annual Meeting. Our new vestry members will be announced at the end of the Annual Meeting. You must be present in the service to cast a ballot.
The nominating committee has been appointed by the vestry to be the members of the outgoing vestry class: Frank Adams, Marilyn Hunter, Phil Spessard and Stephanie Yucius. If you would like to discuss further the role and expectations of vestry, please feel free to contact Stephanie Yucius or any others on the nominating committee.
(Click the image to enlarge)
Wednesday Night dinner and Formation in Advent
Wednesday dinner and programs will held in Advent on December 5, 12 and 19. An Advent curriculum "It's Time To...." will be offered for adults, and the Youth will meet in the Youth House.
Christmas flowers/music donations requested by Sunday, December 16
Each year we invite everyone to donate funds for decorating our church for Christmas and for special music at Christmas Eve services. Please insert your donation in the brown (manilla) envelopes found in the pews (or send to the church office). Remember to write in or on the envelope (1) your name and (2) to whom your gift is given in thanksgiving or memory of, by Sunday, December 16 to be listed in our Christmas bulletins.
Special Christmas Fund
Each Christmas our parishioners give to create a Special Christmas Fund, used for members of this congregation who have suffered in any number of ways, to support them at a time of year when limited resources are painfully evident. The Rector, in consultation with the staff, makes the decision as to how this fund will be used. If you would like to give to this fund simply write a check to St. Catherine’s and clearly mark it for the “Special Christmas Fund,” or online through your account in The City. Any amount is gratefully accepted.
Get the Reflection of the Day
A special annual tradition at St. Catherine’s is our own booklet of reflections on the seasons of Advent and Christmas written by our parishioners. Look for this year's collection for pick up in the church foyer and posted on our website. You may also receive these reflections emailed directly to you each day throughout the season. Read the reflections and/or sign up for Reflection of the Day emails at stcatherines.org/reflections/advent.htm .
St. Catherine's Christmas Market - Sunday, December 9
Shop local this holiday season! Come to the Christmas Market which will be held 8 am - 1 pm in our Parish Hall. Interested vendors should contact Rebeccah George, rebeccahfgeorgegmail.com. Vendor booth fees will go toward our Youth Program and we thank you for your support!
Tuesday, December 11 - Blue Christmas 7:00 pm
Thursday, December 13 - Seniors Adults Eucharist and Christmas Lunch 11 am
Senior adults age 65 and older are invited by The Rev. Sarah Fisher & The Rev. Joe Greene to be our special guest for a Eucharist and Christmas Luncheon at church at 11:00 am. Special entertainment will be provided by the four-year-old-classes of our Preschool. This event is by RSVP only so please let us know you are coming by Monday, December 10, contact Rachel Hutton in the office, 770-971-2839.
Saturday, December 15 – Advent Quiet Day 10 am to 2 pm
Come for a day of reflection and prayer. We will prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ by looking inward and discerning who we are in the world. We will explore spiritual writings and gain tools to help us live into the coming of Christ. Please join us at church for this day of quiet introspection. Contact Father Joe to RSVP and for any questions.
Sunday, December 23
Christmas Pageant with Holy Eucharist
The Christmas Pageant will be part of the service on December 24th at the 4:00 pm Holy Eucharist. All children, family, and friends are invited to participate. Costumes may be picked up on December 16 and December 23 in the Parish Hall. Costumes will be available again from 3:15-3:45 pm on Christmas Eve in the Parish Hall.
Pageant rehearsal for youth readers only will be on December 16, 12:30-1:30 pm. Contact Becky Beal with questions.
Christmas Eve Receptions - cookies requested
Festive receptions will follow the Christmas Eve services this year. We invite you to donate cookies for the 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm worship times, please bring them to the Parish Hall prior to the service. Thank you!
Saturday, December 15
Please join us Saturday evening, December 15 at 7:30 pm for our first concert in our Friends of Music Seventh Season. Coro Vocati will present a free concert of glorious music for Christmas, with new arrangements of classic carols by new composers and standard favorites by David Willcocks and John Rutter. There will be interesting musical twists and turns to keep everyone in the holiday spirit, as well as a Christmas carol sing-a-long. An ensemble of professional singers, called to create music at the highest level of choral artistry, Coro Vocati is returning for its fourth St. Catherine’s appearance by popular demand! Hear samples of their sound at www.corovocati.com.
This is a free concert with no tickets needed, open to the public. A freewill offering will be taken. All concert goers are invited to a “meet and greet” reception with the artists after the concert.
Be a Friend of Music at St. Catherine’s!
This concert series and our future concerts are made possible and kept affordable by the generous contributions of music lovers. We invite you to become a “Friend Of Music At St. Catherine’s” this year and help enhance the musical and spiritual life of our community. All contributors will be acknowledged in the concert programs and invited to a Friends of Music reception. Gifts in any amount are welcome and are tax deductible. Please make checks to St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, designate it on the memo line for “Friends of Music,” and send/bring to the church offic. St. Catherine's members may also give online through your account in The City. For more information, see our website at www.stcatherines.org/concerts.
Give the perfect gift… Give blood!
Note this date on your calendar NOW to give something during the holidays that really means something. The Red Cross Blood Drive truck makes its next stop at St. Catherine's from 3:00 to 7:00 pm in the Parish Hall. Blood collections are always very low during the holiday season so your donation will be even more important! Making an appointment is easy: go to www.redcrossblood.org and enter Sponsor Code STCATS to sign up for available times. Though appointments are not required -- walk ins are always welcome! -- they will help get you in & out in the quickest time.
Help will also be needed for greeting donors, setup and clean up, please contact Jennifer Massey, massey.jmgmail.com / 404.375.8327.
Our supply of communion wine is getting low. We are fortunate to have parishioners donate our wine either in memory of, or in thanksgiving for, a loved one. If you would like to help, please leave donations in the church office, marked with your name and information for remembrance. We use Taylor Tawny Port. Thank you.
Flowers and Candles
Our church flowers and altar candles are entirely supported only by your direct sponsorship of these ministries. We thank you! The current schedule is available in the main office for you to sign up to dedicate altar flowers or candles in memory of thanksgiving for a loved one. Note that sponsorship of any date is not limited to one or two persons, please choose the date(s) which apply to the persons or occasions you wish, and you may also partner with others to sponsor a date. Flowers are $60 per vase and candles are $20 each.
If you signed up for 2018 flowers or candles, please send your payment to the church office by December 31 if you have not yet done so.
We are collecting food for the East Cobb Middle School Food Pantry. The foods needed include:
Please bring items to the collection bins at the Outreach table. For questions contact Christy Luttrell, pchristy10aol.com. Thank you for your support!
Emmaus House is an Episcopal Community Center which predominantly serves the residents of Peoplestown & Summerhill neighborhoods in Atlanta. At Emmaus House, people from all walks of life work together joyfully to diminish poverty and its broader consequences. Each year, around 900 children come to Emmaus House on Christmas Eve where they and their families celebrate with gifts, snacks and entertainment.
By Connie Bergeron, connieatlbergerons.net, and Tracy Buckalew, tracyklpcpeoplepc.com
Year in and year out, the generous hearts and willing hands of St. Catherine's parishioners eagerly provide a nutritious dinner on the 28th of EVERY month to the 55 to 70 guests at MUST's Elizabeth Inn shelter for the homeless. "Thank you" does not seem powerful enough to fully express the sense of gratitude for your "yes" to serving those most in need in Cobb County. On November 28th, our dinner providers and servers included Alan and Carol Fey, Al and Sue Jones, Lisa Johnston, Bettye Harris, Ron and Connie Bergeron, Jerry and Linda Scott, Deborah Weigel, Janet Livingston, Marlene Stuart, Nancy Barke and Margaret Shaw. During 2018, in addition to the terrific individual volunteers who have covered the months of March, September and November, the following groups have given of their time, talent and delicious food to help share the love of God with the Inn's guests: Altar and Flower Guilds (January and July,) Vestry and Clergy (February,) Daughters of the King (April and August,) Fellowship (May,) Youth (June and October,) and Outreach (December.)
If you have never had the privilege of serving a meal at Elizabeth Inn, we invite you to consider joining Outreach on December 28th. Anyone age 16 or older is welcome, and the time commitment is from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. To sign up, please contact Harriett Pyburn, harriettspyburngmail.com.
We are so thankful for you all who make this ministry possible, and special thanks to Wiliamson Bros for the discounted price on barbecue chickens and to Fred Massey, who places the chicken orders every month. As we enter into this season of Advent, to feel anew the wonder of Christmas, we hope you will consider yourselves wrapped in appreciation for your support, like a beautiful present tied up with a bow, and we look forward to your ongoing volunteer service in 2019! Photos below courtesy Connie Bergeron
Director of Youth Ministries: Sally Benton
December 7-9: Jr DYC @ Camp Mikell
4:00pm Christmas Eve - We need youth who would like to read for the Christmas Pageant. If you are interested, please let Sally know as soon as possible!
Parent help needed for table set-up on Saturday morning, December 8 at 9:30am. Please let Rebeccah George know if you are available to help. You can email her: rebeccahfgeorgegmail.com.
Help from a few strong adults would be very welcome to help us put up trees before Hanging of the Greens and hang our big wreath that evening!
Un-decorating is always more fun with friends! We need to get ornaments and lights off the trees on Friday, January 4th so that we can have the trees down before the end of Christmas!
The Diocesan Youth Commission hosts its retreat, the DYC Retreat, twice a year. It is hosted at Camp Mikell the first week of December for middle schoolers and the first weekend of January for highschoolers. The focus of the retreat is to bring the fun of Summer Camp into an abbreviated winter session. We even have Summer Staffers up to chaperone the weekend. The theme of the DYC Retreat changes yearly, but it is always an exciting weekend that includes music, worship, morning program, afternoon activities, a dance, and plenty of fun! Get information here .
28 November, 2018
Dear St. Catherine's Preschool and Parish:
We will present the gift to her on January 11th. You will find Karolyn's words below mine.
And... it is with joy and anticipation that I can also tell you that Pam Kulpa will transition into the Preschool Director position beginning January 1, 2019. Pam is well known to the Preschool, having served as our Media Specialist since 2014. Pam is eager and ready for the challenge before her and I believe she brings a wealth of gifts and skills to this ministry. Welcome Pam! We look forward to this new partnership as we learn and grow together.
Transitions are times of excitement, joy, and sometimes, anxiety. Please know that I am available to you as we move into a new season for the Preschool. A love of learning starts at St. Catherine's Preschool. We will continue to carry that love into the lives of our youngest and out into the world.
Peace & all good,
Pam Kulpa will be the Director starting January 1, 2019. She will join Lynne Gates, our Assistant Director, to make a great, very capable front office staff. Pam and I have been working to make this a seamless transition. June Brandsma will take on more responsibility and take over Pam's current position. I have complete confidence you will be happy with the transition, upcoming registration, and the rest of the school year.
Pam and I look forward to visiting with many of you at the Christmas programs next week. There will also be time the week of December 17th to celebrate this exciting time in the life of this great preschool.
Pam Kulpa has been working at St, Catherine's Preschool for the past four years. She handles day to day office needs and assists the teachers with special projects. She also works closely with the Director and Assistant Director with the running of the preschool. Having earned a bachelor's degree at Auburn University in Psychology, Pam has devoted the last 9 years of her life working in the preschool setting. Prior to working at St. Catherine's, Pam taught preschool at Sewell Mill Christian School here in Marietta. She further developed professional skills as a International Coordinator for the World Association of Nuclear Operators in Atlanta. Pam resides nearby in East Cobb with her husband Craig and three children, who range from middle school to college. Pam feels that her dedication to new growth is equally matched by all of the wonderful staff that surround her at St. Catherine's Episcopal Church and Preschool.
Intergenerational Formation on November 18 - Working on our Snack Buddies project (photos by Suzanne Gardiner)
Intergenerational Formation on December 3 - Making Christmas ornaments and packing for snack bags (photos by Becky Beal)
Making Advent wreaths on December 1 -- and a visit from St. Nicholas! Photos by Jan Potter, see lots more full size in the album at Advent Wreath 2018.
Our Choirs shine! - Combined Choristers and Chancel Choir joined together for an anthem on All Saints Sunday (photo by Brian Williams); below - directors The Drs. Jana and Brian Williams at Advent Lessons & Carols on December 2 (photos by Richard Barke).
In our Parish Cycle of Ministries, we celebrate the life and work of these ministries in the upcoming weeks. Please read on to find out about each and consider if you’d like to become involved.
Thank you to the following who have recently contributed communion wine to our parish:
Now in its 29th season, the Michael O’Neal Singers' full 155-voice symphonic chorus presents programs of artistic excellence and variety. Their holiday concerts will be held at Roswell United Methodist Church, 814 Mimosa Blvd, Roswell, GA 30075. Several members of St. Catherine’s sing in this well-known North Atlanta-based chorus. Tickets are available at www.mosingers.com:
For the twenty-third holiday season, The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany presents an exhibit of nativity scenes from around the world from Saturday, December 8 through Sunday, December 16. Over the years, the exhibit has grown to over 300 crèches. From the elegant to the eccentric, the birth scenes are sculpted in materials ranging from carved wood to volcanic ash. Each nativity is accompanied by scriptural quotes and hymn texts. Admission is $5.00 for adults; free for children under 12. Schedule: Dec. 8 10 am-4 pm; Dec. 9 2-4 pm; Dec. 10 10 am–2 pm; Dec. 12 10 am–2 pm; Dec. 1, 10 am–2 pm; Dec. 15 10 am-4 pm; Dec. 16 2-4 pm. The church is located at 2089 Ponce de Leon Ave, Atlanta. For a brochure or more information contact Epiphany at 404.373.8338 / infoepiphany.org or visit www.epiphany.org .
If you have a name to be added to the Prayers please contact the church office, 770-971-2839, stcatsstcatherines.org. Names will remain on the Prayer Chain list for one month unless indicated for a longer period.
ALL MEMBERS OF THE ARMED SERVICES: Taylor Bacon, Matt Bermel, Tom Blackstock, Mychael Claytor, Lucas Elgie , Josh England, Jake England, Ryan Johnson, Pat McDougald, and Ashley Schoolfeild.
OUR NATION AND ITS LEADERS: Donald, our president, Nathan, our Governor, members of Congress and this Country.
THOSE IN NEED OF PRAYER: Bill Brinson, Lauren & Oliver Feldman, Bill Woods, Liz Burlas, Rod Miller, Marianne Miller, Kris Kell, Don Killian, Mallory Daniel, Ruth Hepler, Doris Lummus, Emil Walcek, Cora King, Mary Kammerle, Dorris Lummus, Jacky Henry, Lucy Perry, Shirley Henry, Natalie Whitlow, Brian Jory, Nancy Certain, Jean Buckalew, Ron Brannock, Lisa Powell, Shirley Day, Peter Bernhardt, Charles Barnard, Mark Ernst, Christion Abercrombie, Miles, Grace Adams, Lindy Moot, Beth Sandoval, Allen Rosenfield, Patty Austin-Pendroid, Robinson family, Pam Johannessen, Daniel, Fran Corragio, Kris Harley, Raymond & Kristina Higgins, Ralph, Marion & Richard Bullard, Kristin Blackstock, Arthur & Roberta Loewy, Terry Adams, Rod Miller, Carol Fey, Michelle & Caitlyn Galloway, Debbie & Paul Gavin, Gwen, Luana Campos, Lou Smith, Hale Sanders, Gary Carragio, Bill Sisk, Bea McDowell, Barbara Perry, Hilary Small, Lynn Sapp, The Dilworth Family, Holly Krupp, Jose, Kevin & Doris Kissell, Bootie Farnsworth, Megan Lowery, Susan Shank, Binks Franklin, Tom Bonner, Bryan, Michael & Kacey Barton, Sue Schnorf, Jeanette Dini, Larry Long, Wyatt Pope, Rod Deutscher, Christian Harvey, Christopher Clements, Joyce Hendricks, Ken Buxton, Donna Schwartz, Heidi Winston, Melissa, Ruby, Patricia Aramburu, Jimmie Stinnett, Frances Short, Joe Popper, Becky Pfeil, Melinda Stuk, Gene Harlan, Jo Brokenshire, Alexis Miniat, Marti Graham, Velasta Buford, Juanita Butte, Diane Lee, Laurie Kelly, Nancy Eade.
BIRTHDAYS: Luke Mikkelsen 12/7; Ian Goldman 12/9; Megan Goldman 12/9; Sebastjan Hutton 12/9; Marie Hale 12/10; Nick Muckerman 12/10; Barbara Perry 12/10; Megan Shannonhouse 12/10; Ann Snead 12/10; Margaret Caudle 12/11; Sadie Culberson 12/11; Bobbye Greene 12/11; Abigail Singleton 12/11; Lee Stuart 12/12; Brian Jory 12/13; Terry Sheehan 12/13; Ken Denton 12/14; Juliet Glass 12/14; Mark Singleton 12/14; Kevin Manno 12/15; Jennifer Massey 12/15; Michael Moran 12/15; Tom Bird 12/18; Jennifer Tear 12/18; Riley Yucius 12/18; Andrew Hutton 12/19; Liana McLean 12/20
ANNIVERSARIES: John & Fran Brooks 12/18
PARISH CYCLE OF PRAYER:
We love to recognize birthdays and wedding anniversaries for everyone in our parish! We have a year-round calendar to pray for these special dates, send birthday cards, and publish in our bulletin and newsletter. Would you like your birthday or anniversary included in our remembrances? Please send names and dates to the church office.
When to contact the church
Please let the church know when you or a loved one has a medical procedure, an illness, a life transition, or other special need. We are here to serve you. Please allow us the opportunity to share your experience and offer our support. Simply call the church office at 770-971-2839. Thank you.
Two-Week Look Ahead
Below are the next two weeks of events and activities, correct as of publication date. For the entire up-to-the-minute parish calendar, go to Calendar.
Please hold these dates:
The Wheel is published two times per month on Thursdays. All editions are posted on our newsletter page and distributed by email to all members subscribed to the "Parish Announcements" email list. Printed copies of each newsletter are available for pickup at church in the foyer on the Welcome Table or in the nearby wall rack. We welcome contributions of articles and photos of interest to the parish. Articles and photos are due by midnight on Sunday the week of publication date. Please submit items to Editor Karen Manno via email (below) or in her mailbox at church.
The Wheel: get every issue!
Does everyone in your household receive The Wheel, St. Catherine's newsletter? Is everyone subscribed? Email is a primary means for our parish communications. You may sign up on on our Subscription page. Or you may send the names and email addresses of everyone who would like get their own copy to Karen Manno at the email address below, or note them on the form in your bulletin, or contact the church office at 770-971-2829. You'll receive your online version via email, and you can find all current and prior issues of The Wheel on our website at www.stcatherines.org
Editor: Karen Manno, email@example.com, 770-973-8668.
Copyright 2018 St. Catherine's Episcopal Church